Intro of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


  1. What is GIS?

Studying the literature on GIS (tutorials, articles, websites), you can find dozens of different definitions of GIS. On the Russian PRO-GIS website alone ( ), 20 definitions are given:
Geographic information system: – designed to collect, store, analyze and graphically visualize spatial data and related information about objects presented in GIS …
Geographic information system: – an information system that provides collection, storage, processing, access, display and dissemination of spatially coordinated data (spatial data). GIS contains data about spatial objects in the form of their digital representations (vector, raster, quadrotomic and others).

Geographic information system: – “a complex of hardware and software and human activities for the storage, manipulation and display of geographic (spatially related) data.”
Geographic information system: – “internally positioned automated spatial information system, created for data management, mapping and analysis.”
Consequently, the creation of GIS should be carried out according to the laws of creating automated information systems, consistently going through all the necessary stages:

  • definition and study of the automation object;
  • determination of the list of automation tasks;
  • choice of a GIS platform;
  • system design;
  • implementation;
  • system operation.

At the same time, it is very important to correctly identify (and evaluate) future consumers of GIS information, sources of information and funding for operating the system and maintaining its relevance.
Only with this approach to the Importance of GIS in planning, the latter has a chance of success. Otherwise, endless alterations are inevitable in order to “patch holes”, search for funds to keep the system up-to-date and, as a result, either a complete overhaul of the system, or its gradual “dying” and, at the same time, discrediting the very idea of ​​GIS.

  1. Possibilities of GIS

The essence of GIS is manifested in its ability to associate some descriptive (attributive) information with spatial objects. As a rule, attribute information is organized in the form of relational database tables. In the simplest case, each spatial object (and usually point, linear and area objects are allocated) is assigned a table row – a record in the database.

Thus, GIS can be considered as a kind of extension of the database technology for coordinate-based information. But even in this sense, it represents a new way of integrating and structuring information. This is due to the fact that in the real world most of the information relates to objects for which their spatial position, shape and interposition play an important role, and, therefore, GIS in many applications significantly expands the capabilities of conventional DBMS, since GIS is more convenient.

Visual in use and provide their own “cartographic interface” for organizing a query to the database together with the means of generating a “graphical” report. And finally, GIS adds a completely new functionality to conventional DBMS – the use of spatial relationships between objects.
The use of geographic information systems is becoming an integral part of the professional activities of many enterprises and departments. The speed and simplicity of data display, the ability to form multifaceted queries, access to external databases and at the same time the creation and maintenance of internal databases, the ability to integrate with various corporate information systems – this is not a complete list of benefits that a user working with GIS receives.

  1. Scopes of GIS

Scientists have calculated that most of the information (in various sources there are values ​​from 60% to 90%). Which a person encounters in his life, has a territorial reference. Therefore, it is simply impossible to list all the areas of GIS application. These systems can be used in almost any area of ​​human labor.
GIS is effective in all areas where accounting and management of the territory and objects on it is carried out. These are practically all areas of activity of governing bodies and administrations. Land resources and real estate objects, transport, engineering communications, business development. Law enforcement and security, emergency management, demography, ecology, healthcare, etc.

The historical and cultural direction, advertising, nature management also did not bypass GIS attention. The list of possible GIS applications is endless.